Using noninvasive brain scans, UCLA researchers showed how the brains of children with autism overreact when presented with competing sensory stimuli - in this case the touch of scratchy wool combined with loud traffic noises. They presented their findings this week at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), in Atlanta.
"This helps show the brain basis for the sensory issues we see in many individuals affected by autism," comments developmental pediatrician Paul Wang, Autism Speaks head of medical research. "I think it's particularly important to note that the new DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing autism include sensory issues. Officially they are now among the defining symptoms of autism." Brain studies such as UCLA's may help us better understand and address these issues, Dr. Wang adds.
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Ted Hutman, of UCLA's Semel Institute, described the findings at the IMFAR press conference. View his full remarks in the video clip below.